BREAKING: Keep Food Legal Foundation Earns Tax-Deductible 501(c)(3) Status from IRS!

Keep Food Legal Foundation logoWe are thrilled to announce that Keep Food Legal Foundation has secured tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status from the federal government. We received notice of our status as a public charity recently in a determination letter provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

As many of you know, we launched Keep Food Legal Foundation in 2012 in order to expand Keep Food Legal's existing efforts in the areas of education, outreach, and research and publications. Since filing our application for tax-exempt status with the IRS in 2012, we waited anxiously for word of our application. After we responded earlier this year to an IRS request to provide additional information, we continued to wait until we received the agency's determination letter this summer.

What does Keep Food Legal Foundation's new tax-exempt status mean for our future? We anticipate it will allow for an expansion of our existing efforts in the areas of education and research by providing access to important new revenue streams. Fellow public charities, private foundations, other grantmakers, corporations, and individual donors of all types who, like many of you, seek to make tax-deductible, charitable contributions to causes you support will all be eligible to make tax-deductible donations to Keep Food Legal Foundation.

Your support has already been evident. Since its formation in 2012, Keep Food Legal Foundation has already raised tens of thousands of dollars, far outpacing the money Keep Food Legal has raised during its existence. And we're pleased to inform you that our new 501(c)(3) status means all of the funds you donated to Keep Food Legal Foundation since June 13, 2012--along, of course, with all of your donations from this point onward--are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Many of you likely noticed our fantastic new Keep Food Legal Foundation logo, which sits at right. It's just one of many changes you'll begin to see around these parts. In the coming months, we'll have more to share about our upcoming projects, including a redesign of our website, an anticipated Kickstarter campaign to support our Opt Out of School Lunch project, two research reports, an update on our FOIA lawsuit against New York City (which has provided us with thousands of pages of documents to review), new promotional materials, and many other details about our planned future efforts. If you would like to support our work in these areas, you may do so either at our donation page or by sending a check to us at the mailing address at the bottom of this page.

In the meantime, we want to thank you again for your past, present, and future support of our work. Without you, Keep Food Legal Foundation would never have become a reality. 

Keep Food Legal Foundation Accepting Applications for Fall and Spring Law-Student Interns

Keep Food Legal Foundation LogoKeep Food Legal Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., is currently seeking one or more law students to serve as legal interns during the fall 2014 and/or spring 2015 semesters. Students currently pursuing a J.D. or LL.M. at any accredited U.S. law school (as well as those who possess either a J.D. or LL.M. and are pursuing a Ph.D.) are welcome to apply.

This position is unpaid. Students may be eligible to earn academic credit for their internship. Check with your school's registrar for details before applying. Students (whether located in Washington, D.C. or elsewhere) will work remotely. Legal interns will be supervised in their work by Keep Food Legal Foundation executive director Baylen Linnekin (an attorney and member of the Maryland bar).

The legal intern will be responsible for assisting on a variety of research and writing tasks on topics pertaining to food freedom. Examples include (but are not limited to) researching federal, state, and local food/agricultural laws and regulations; helping prepare reports and law review articles for publication; drafting comments to government agencies; writing content for our website; and assisting in our social-media campaigns. Ideal applicants possess superior research and writing skills and have a demonstrated commitment to food freedom (which we define as a person's right to grow, raise, produce, buy, sell, share, cook, eat, and drink the foods of their own choosing).

If you would like to be considered for a law-student intern position, please send an email to Keep Food Legal Foundation executive director Baylen Linnekin. Please include your name, phone number, current law school, and law-school status (e.g., 2L) in the body of the email. Please attach to the email a copy of your resume; brief (~ 500 words) writing sample; and a one-page statement of interest that expresses both your interest in food and/or agricultural law and your relevant legal research and writing experience.

Keep Food Legal Tells Reuters Why Proposed Changes to FDA Nutrition Facts Panel Fail

Proposed FDA Nutrition Facts PanelKeep Food Legal has been in the thick of the battle over the FDA's misguided proposal to amend the Nutrition Facts panels that appear on packaged foods sold throughout in the United States.

"'The people who read labels are the people who are already watching their health and their weight. This isn't going to cause a dramatic change,' said Baylen Linnekin, head of nonprofit Keep Food Legal and a critic of the labeling measure as well as other government involvement in the food sector, including subsidies," reported Reuters earlier this week.

Many of the proposed changes to the panel are largely cosmetic in nature, as Linnekin noted in a Reason column earlier this year.

"Some words would move around, while others would be abbreviated," he wrote. Those changes include moving recommended percent daily values from the right side of the panel to the left and shortening the words "Daily Value" to "DV".

That shuffling and swapping is as pointless as it is noncontroversial.

The problems lie elsewhere. The key problems with the proposed changes to Nutrition Facts panel appears to be that their contents are less about science and providing consumers with information than they are about serving as fodder for political battles. And it's no surprise that sugar--along with high fructose corn syrup, perhaps the most politicized food ingredient today--is at the center of the political maelstrom.

The most controversial change in the FDA's proposal would include a line in the Nutrition Facts panel that requires listing "added sugars." Sure, total sugars are already on that list. But the FDA wants you to know how much of the sweetener a food manufacturer has added to the food (in addition to any sugar that occurs naturally in any of the food ingredients).

What's the difference between added sugars and other sugars? Nutritionists (which we're not) will tell you there is no difference. And "added sugars" will always be part of (and never greater than) total sugars. What that means is that the "added sugar" line item is merely a punitive measure designed to target and pressure food companies.

For the FDA to adopt this change, politics would have to beat out science. Sadly, that would hardly set any new precedent for the FDA.